Friday, February 13, 2009

Organizing your tax information

Tax season can be stressful on many levels. While this article won’t help you pay any potential bill, it will help to alleviate the stress that comes along with tax preparation. Do you find yourself in a mountain of paperwork this time of year or running around trying to find receipts or figure out miles that you can deduct? If so, follow these easy steps to making the tax preparation go more smoothly you and/or your accountant:

1. Set up a tax file. If you own a business or have business related expenses, you should have two sub folders for home and business. Everything tax related will go in this file.
2. Put envelopes inside these folders. The envelopes should be labeled with items that you claim on your taxes. Examples of this would be medical deductions, advertising expenses, donations, etc.
3. Throughout the year, file your receipts as they come in. Having them organized in such a manner will make it easy to prepare them. It will save you time and money (if you are paying your accountant to organize them).
4. If you are able to deduct miles (volunteer, business, medical, etc), put a small notebook in your car right next to the drivers seat. Attach a pen to it so you always have it ready. Use sticky notes to make dividers in the notebook for all the categories that you get to deduct. For example, I have a volunteer miles section and a business miles section. Every time you drive for one of these purposes, record the miles. When tax season rolls around, all you will have to do is tally the total.

Following these easy steps will save you time, money and anxiety. Tax preparation does not need to be stressful or overly time consuming. Refuse to be that person who has to drive to the post office at midnight on tax day.

Meagan Farrell, professional organizer, is the owner of Clear the Clutter organizing services. She can be reached at (360) 631-7268 or at Check out her blog at

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